By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- Former President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress for emerging as 2023 presidential candidates of their parties.
Jonathan, in a statement issued by his Media Aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Thursday in Abuja, also congratulated all other presidential flagbearers of other parties that emerged from the just concluded primaries elections of various parties.
These according to Jonathan include Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Malik Ado-Ibrahim of Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Chief Dan Nwanyanwu of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Dumebi Kachikwu of African Democratic Congress (ADC) as well as Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
He, however, urged the candidates to run a campaign devoid of rancor and divisiveness by ensuring that issues confronting Nigeria and credible solutions take the centre stage in their electioneering campaigns.
He urged them to eschew violence and acts that would encourage any form of bloodletting.
Jonathan said that their emergence as the flagbearers of their parties after submitting themselves to rigorous selection and election processes demonstrated their beliefs and interests in the progress of the nation.
“I consider you are all aspiring to be elected as the leader of the country because you are democrats who believe, like the rest of us, that Nigeria is our common heritage which we should all strive to protect, prosper and preserve for the future generation.
“As you progress towards the electioneering campaigns, it is important that the issues confronting the country and credible solutions take centre stage.
“I urge you to conduct your campaigns in a manner devoid of acrimony, divisiveness and treachery so that at the end of the day Nigeria will win, democracy will triumph and humanity will be better for it.
“As I have always said, no ambition is worth the life of another. As candidates, you must eschew violence and acts that will encourage any form of bloodletting or exacerbate the national fault lines.
“We live in a season of unprecedented violence and all political leaders have a responsibility to de-escalate the tension in the country. The candidates by conduct and language must prioritise non-violence and peaceful coexistence,” Jonathan said.
The ex-president lauded the sportsmanship exhibited by other aspirants who have continued to lend their weight to the democratic process, in spite of the fact that they did not emerge victorious in their various party primaries.
Jonathan also urged all stakeholders to place national interest above personal interest.
He said that everyone must be committed to upholding virtues that would sustain Nigeria democracy and advance the cause of good governance, peace and sustainable development.
“Nigeria is at a critical junction in its march to nationhood as it grapples with security and economic challenges.
“The 2023 elections present an opportunity to renew our union, rebuild the dreams of our founding fathers and revitalise our economy.”
Jonathan also urged all leaders, especially politicians, to prioritize the peace and stability of the nation as they commenced activities of 2023 elections.
He charged all citizens to make honest and patriotic choices that would guarantee the hope that Nigerians desire for themselves and the nation.
He advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to continue to deepen the reforms of the country’s electoral system.
“A transparent election will go a long way to increase the confidence of Nigerians in our democracy and restore trust in our public institutions.
We can attain our national aspirations of unity, peace, and progress through the instrumentality of a functional and effective democracy,” Jonathan said.(NAN)